Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Recorded history suggests that in May 1787 Wynee (also spelled Winee) was the first Hawaiian to leave the islands on a western ship, the British ship Imperial Eagle.  She served as the personal servant of the captain's wife.  They headed to China.  (Duncan)

“This lady (Barclay’s wife) was so pleased with the amicable manners of poor Winee, that she felt a desire to take her to Europe; and for that purpose she took her, with the consent of her friends, under her own particular care and protections.”  (Meares)

Shortly thereafter, on about August 27, 1787, “Tianna (Kaʻiana (also spelled Tyaana & Tyanna,)) a chief of Atooi (Kauai,) and the brother of the sovereign of that island was alone received to embark with us, amid the envy of his countrymen.”  (Meares)  He was the first Hawaiian Chief to sail from the islands in a western ship.

“Tyanna is tall; being six feet two inches in height and so exceedingly well made, that a more perfect symmetry and just proportion of shape is rarely to be met with … (he) has a pleasing animated countenance (and) a fine piercing eye”.  (Portlock)

His father, ʻAhuʻula, was a younger son of King Keaweikekahialiʻiokamoku of the island of Hawaiʻi, making Kaʻiana a young first cousin of that island's most powerful aliʻi, including King Kalaniʻōpuʻu, Keōua (father of Kamehameha I) and Keawemauhili of Hilo.

Kaʻiana’s mother was the Chiefess Kaupekamoku, who on her father’s side was descended from the ruling houses of Oʻahu and
Hilo, and on her mother’s side was a member of the Maui royal family, being a half-sister of King Kekaulike.

Kaʻiana was thus a first cousin to Kekaulike’s numerous children who included King Kahekili of Maui, King Kāʻeo of Kauaʻi, Namahana (mother of Kaʻahumanu,) Kekuamanoha (father of Kalanimōku) and Kalanihelemaiʻiluna (grandfather of Bernice Pauahi Bishop.)  (Miller)

Kaʻiana had two younger half-brothers, Nāmakehā and Nahiolea, sons of his mother by two chiefs of the Maui royal family. The brothers were closely allied throughout their lives; all three were acclaimed warriors.  (Miller)

Captain John Meares took Kaʻiana as a passenger to Canton, China (now called “Guangzhou”) with a cargo of furs from America.

Striding through the streets clad in a malo (loincloth,) ʻahuʻula (feathered cape) and mahiole (feathered helmet) and carrying his spear, Kaʻiana was a gigantic figure who terrified the Chinese.  (Miller)

“Tyaana often expressed his dislike for the Chinese, particularly that custom of shutting up and excluding the women from the sight of all strangers.”  (Portlock)

In China, according to Captain Nathaniel Portlock, “his very name (was) revered by all ranks and conditions of the people of Canton.”  From 1787-1788 Kaʻiana visited China, the Philippines and the Northwest Coast of America.

Wynee and Kaʻiana later met in China; Captain Meares acquired two new ships, the Felice and the Iphigenia, and they set sail in January of 1788 for Northwest America, with Kaʻiana and Wynee aboard.

There, in Kaʻiana’s honor, Captain Douglas gave the name “Tianna’s Bay” to the place where the Iphigenia anchored overnight on August 5, 1788, near Alaska's Mount Saint Elias. It was probably the first foreign place to be named for a Hawaiian person, but modern maps show that site as Icy Bay.

The return voyage began badly; sickness broke out among the crew and Wynee became ill.  “Tianna, in his constant attendance upon Winee, had caught a fever, which, with the humane anxiety he felt on her account, confined him for some time to his bed.”  (Meares)

“Winee, a native of Owyhee, one of the Sandwich Islands, who possessed virtues that are seldom to be found in the class of her countrywomen to which she belonged”, died aboard the Iphigenia February 5, 1788.

After time in the Northwest, Kaʻiana returned to the Islands on December 6, 1788 on the Iphigenia, captained by William Douglas.  They first landed at Wailuku, Maui, with Kaʻiana greeting old friends, leaving the same day for the Island of Hawaiʻi.  They touched at Kawaihae and Kailua, where friends and relatives of Kaʻiana crowded on board to see him.

Anchoring at Kealakekua Bay on December 10th Kamehameha came on board to greet Kaʻiana.  “(A)fter crying over Tianna for a considerable time, the King (Kamehameha I) presented Captain Douglas with a most beautiful fan, and two long feathered cloaks.”  (Meares)

Within a few days, Kaʻiana had decided to remain on Hawaiʻi, as Kamehameha, recognizing the advantage of having with him a chief familiar with foreign ways, had granted him a large property on the island.  (Miller)

This was a time of conquest by Kamehameha and warfare across the islands.

“Among the distinguished Hawaiian chiefs connected with the final conquest and consolidation of the group by Kamehameha the Great, and standing in the gray dawn of the close of the eighteenth century, when the islands were rediscovered by Captain Cook and tradition began to give place to recorded history, was Kaiana-a-Ahaula.”

“After giving to the conqueror his best energies for years, and faithfully assisting in cementing the foundations of his greatness, he turned against him on the very eve of final triumph, and perished in attempting to destroy by a single blow the power he had helped to create.”  (Kalākaua)

In the battle of Nuʻuanu (1795,) when the army of Kamehameha conquered Oʻahu, John Young (a close advisor to Kamehameha) is credited with firing the shot that killed Kaʻiana.

“By some the defection of Kaʻiana has been attributed to coldblooded and unprovoked treachery; by others to an assumption by Kaʻiana that by blood Kamehameha was not entitled to the sovereignty of the group, and that his defeat in Oʻahu would dispose of his pretensions in that direction, and possibly open to himself a way to supreme power.”  (Kalākaua)

By 1795, having fought his last major battle at Nuʻuanu on O‘ahu with his superior use of modern weapons and western advisors, Kamehameha subdued all other chiefdoms (with the exception of Kaua‘i.)

However, after a short time, another chief entered into a power dispute with Kamehameha, Nāmakehā (the brother of Kaʻiana.)  Hostilities erupted between the two that lasted from September 1796 to January 1797.  (Brumaghim) The battle took place at Kaipalaoa, Hilo.  Kamehameha defeated Nāmakehā.

The undisputed sovereignty of Kamehameha was thus established over the entire Island chain (except Kauaʻi and Niʻihau;)  in 1810, negotiations between King Kaumuali‘i and Kamehameha I took place and Kaumualiʻi yielded to Kamehameha making Kamehameha leader of all the Islands.

The image shows Kaʻiana.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Anthony Lee Ahlo

Anthony Lee Ahlo was born in 1876, in Honolulu (he was “Pake hapa-Hawaiʻi.”)  His father Lee Ahlo (April 23, 1841- July 3, 1906) was born in Chong Lok near Canton, China, and came to Hawaiʻi in 1865.

His mother Lahela Kauhi Kehuokalani (April 22, 1852 - December 16, 1911) is reported to be a descendent of Kamehameha.  (Anthony is also identified as Li Fang Ahlo and Lee Fong Ahlo, at various places and times.)

His father worked for seven years as a cook for Mr Lewers of Lewers & Cooke. He and Lahela were married June 22, 1872. In 1873, he started a small grocery at the corner of Maunakea and King Streets, in 1876 it moved to corner of Nuʻuanu and Chaplain Lane; he later expanded into rice planting/processing and general merchandising.  (Krauss)

“(The mill) belonged to a man by the name of Lee Ahlo … (it) was near the Waikalua River, and there was a ditch and flume higher up the river that brought water from the river to the rice mill to make the water wheel go around, and that is where the rice mill got its power to clean the rice. The mill hulled the rice and it came out white. When it was still in the hull we called it paddy rice.”

“The river was near the rice mill and sometimes ulua and other large fish came up the river, following the water at high tide. They came into the ditches leading into the rice fields. Workmen netted them.”  (Ching, History of Kāneʻohe)

His father died a very prominent merchant and had many friends. His estate was valued at $50,000 (about $1,500,000, today;) the inventory list includes $17,500 real property in Honolulu, $17,500 in Kāneʻohe, $3,000 in Waialua, $2,000 in personal property in Honolulu and $10,000 in Kāneʻohe.  (Krauss)

Anthony Lee Ahlo graduated from Oʻahu College (Punahou) in 1897.  He then was admitted at Trinity Hall, Cambridge University in 1898 and earned his BA in 1901 and MA 1911.

In 1901, Anthony married Gladys Fitzgerald.  A reception, with over five hundred guests, being all the prominent society people of the city, was given by Mr. and Mrs. Lee Ahlo, in honor of their son and his young English wife, at their magnificent new residence off Liliha street, it “was a most brilliant and delightful affair.”  (Honolulu Republican, October 20, 1901)  Young Ahlo and his bride moved to Shanghai, China.

An article in the Maui news noted, “The Chinese government by imperial edict has requested Chinese residing in foreign countries to interest themselves in the matter of developing the mineral resources of China, and has pledged itself to grant the necessary rights, privileges and protection to those who desire to invest.”

It further noted, “China Waking Up. Mr. Anthony L Ahlo, an intelligent young Chinese, and by the way, a graduate of Cambridge, England is on Maui this week, and while here, is submitting an Investment for the purpose of developing the vast coal, copper and tin mines of the Chong Lock District in the province of Kwangtung (his father’s home town”.)

“Mr. Ahlo will proceed to China and secure the desired concessions. There is no question but what Chong Lock is a rich mineral district, and with the energy, ability and integrity of Mr. Ahlo back of the enterprise, there is no question but what the enterprise will prove successful and lay the foundation for vast fortunes for its promoters.”  (Maui News, June 20, 1903)

Anthony was well-connected with the revolutionary movement that was underway in China.  From 1894 to 1911, Sun Yat Sen traveled around the globe advocating revolution and soliciting funds for the cause. At first, he concentrated on China, but his continued need for money forced him elsewhere. Southeast Asia, Japan, Hawaii, Canada, the United States, and Europe all became familiar during his endless quest.  (Damon)

However, movement by Chinese to and through the US was restricted.  Sun needed a certificate to enter the United States at a time when the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 would have otherwise blocked him.  Although born in China, to allow movement through the States, Sun sought a birth certificate from Hawaiʻi.

Ahlo provided sworn testimony supporting Sun Yat Sen’s ʻEwa birthplace (signed by A. Ahlo on March 22, 1904.)  In part, he swore, “I have lived in Hawaii for 41 years. Have known Dr Sen a Chinese person, and knew his parents – since about 1870.  I owned a rice plantation at Waipahu at that time and went there after to give it my attention.  The father and mother of Dr Sen lived at Wamano and I often stopped at their house – sometimes overnight.”

On March 14, 1904, while residing in Kula, Maui, Sun Yat-sen obtained a Certificate of Hawaiian Birth, issued by the Territory of Hawaiʻi, stating that "he was born in the Hawaiian Islands on the 24th day of November, A.D. 1870."

A May 26, 1908 article in the Chinese Public Opinion, an English paper of Peking, noted, "We are pleased to note the appointment of Mr. AL Ahlo to a position as justice in the Supreme Court in Peking. This gentleman is one of the new generation and was educated at the University of Cambridge, England where he passed his degree with honors.”

“He has been for some time acting as legal adviser to the High Court of Justice and has been doing good work in this department. It is a noteworthy fact that he is the returned student who has been appointed to a position of any importance in the Judiciary of China.” (Hawaiian Gazette, June 26, 1908)

In a speech he noted, “The world has become accustomed to seeing China plodding contentedly in rough conservatism and has not noted the size of reawakened China. Everywhere in the empire there are abundant evidences of material progress, and educational, industrial and scientific institutions tell the tale of life and activity.”

“The old-time superstitions and customs which stood in the path of its development are now being rudely brushed aside, and today behold China, a nation throbbing with the thrill of a new era, an era of advancement in the cause of humanity!”   (Congress of American Prison Association, 1910)

The revolutionary movement in China grew stronger and stronger. Revolution members staged many armed uprisings, culminating in the October 10, 1911 Wuhan (Wuchang) Uprising which succeeded in overthrowing the Manchu dynasty and established the Republic of China.

That date is now celebrated annually as the Republic of China’s national day, also known as the “Double Ten Day”. On December 29, 1911, Sun Yat-Sen was elected president and on January 1, 1912, he was officially inaugurated.  After Sun's death in March 1925, Chiang Kai-shek became the leader of the Kuomintang (KMT.)

The Republic of China governed mainland China; during the Chinese Civil War, the communists captured Beijing and later Nanjing. The communist party led People’s Republic of China was proclaimed on October 1, 1949.

Ahlo’s provided further support and participation in the new China did not end there.  Ahlo drafted the constitution of the Chinese republic which was submitted to the national assembly.  It follows partially the federal law of America and part of that of France. It provides for a national assembly to consist of two houses, called the council of the people and the council of the provinces.  (San Francisco Call, May 19, 1912)

In the early-1920s he was Chinese consul in Samoa and then Borneo, before being a secretary of foreign affairs at Peking, and then subsequently an assistant commissioner of foreign affairs in Canton.

“Dr. Ahlo’s 12-months sojourn in Samoa has enabled him to study the Pacific. He sees it as the meeting ground of England, Japan, and America, all striving to gain supremacy.”

“The enormous trade possibilities of this romantic region, with peoples of diverse races, numbering 800,000,000, waiting to be exploited as factors in trade and ideas, call the colonizers and traders of the Great Powers, and right through the Pacific the fight for this supremacy is going quietly on.”

“Tariffs and other things are playing their part, but the suspicions and antagonisms engendered by this competition are reflected in the naval importance given to the Pacific. It is now talked of as the scene of the next great war.”

“’The spending of millions on armaments will inevitably result in bankruptcy,’ said the doctor, and, on account of the enormous cost.”  (The Advocate, Tasmania, August 4, 1921)  The image shows Lee Fong Aholo.

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Monday, August 25, 2014


 “A little farther on we entered groves of hala, through which we continued to ride for the rest of our journey. We turned from the road to see the falls of the Kāhili River.”

“Though not large they are beautiful. Here the river falls in a jet of foam over a precipice of about 40 feet into a broad clear basin below….”  (Alexander, 1849; (Kīlauea Stream is universally referred to as “Kāhili Stream;”) Cultural Surveys)

Pukui suggests “Kīlauea means “spewing, much spreading;” associated references relate to volcanic eruptions at the place of like name on the Island of Hawaiʻi – typically referring to the rising smoke clouds.

Wichman explains the name as referring to “spewing many vapors” and traces it rather generically to the streams of Kīlauea that flow between the Makaleha Mountains and the Kamo‘okoa Ridge. The name may have originally been in reference to Kīlauea Falls itself.  (Cultural Surveys)

The relatively large volume of water flowing over a relatively wide and high drop against the prevailing trade winds (blowing approximately straight up the lower stretch of the valley) can create a large volume of diffuse mist that may have inspired the name of the land.  (Cultural Surveys)

In the Māhele, all of Kīlauea ahupuaʻa was retained as government lands; apparently no claims were made by native tenants, although there were several in a low, wide terrace along the stream in the adjoining Kāhili ahupuaʻa.

In January 1863, the approximate 3,016-acres of the Kīlauea ahupuaʻa were purchased by a former American whaler named Charles Titcomb.  Titcomb already had land holdings at Kōloa and Hanalei.  He was cultivating silkworm, coffee, tobacco, sugarcane and cattle.

Adding other leased land, he and partners Captain John Ross and EP Adams formed the Kilauea Plantation (1863,) and by 1877 the started a sugar plantation, “one of the smallest plantations in the Hawaiian Islands operating its own sugar mill”.  (Cultural Surveys)

Hawaiʻi’s earliest history with railroads is often credited to Kīlauea Plantation, whose first system opened in 1881 on three miles of narrow-gauge track to haul sugar cane.  Princess Lydia Kamakaeha (Lili‘uokalani) drove in the first spikes for the railroad bed. The plantation infrastructure grew over the next twenty years.

“The transportation system consists of twelve and a half miles of permanent track, five miles of portable track, 200 cane cars, six sugar cars and four locomotives.”

“(Kīlauea) is situated three miles from the landing at Kāhili, with which it is connected by the railway system. Sugar is delivered to the steamers by means of a cable device at the rate of from 600 to 800-bags an hour.”  (San Francisco Chronicle, July 18, 1910) The town of Kīlauea originated as the center of the sugar plantation operation; Kīlauea Sugar Plantation closed in 1970.

The Kīlauea School was founded in 1882 as an ‘English School.’  Its 54-pupils were primarily workers’ children from Kīlauea Sugar Plantation.  As the Board of Education of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi owned no land in the district, school was held in a Protestant Church and partly in an old building that belonged to the Board.

In 1894, the Board of Education of the Republic of Hawaiʻi was able to obtain a two-acre parcel of land from the plantation and a two-room school and teacher's cottage were erected (it was situated near Kūhiō Highway and Kalihiwai Road.)

By 1920, the educational facilities were greatly strained as the school boasted 239-students and 7-teachers for grades one through eight.  At the end of 1921, Kauai County purchased the present school site and the new school opened September 11, 1922; it has been in use since that time.  (NPS)

By the 1890s, much of the old kalo-growing areas of this portion of Kaua‘i were now producing rice, farmed by Chinese immigrants. There were 55-acres of land in rice production in the Kīlauea-Kāhili area in 1892 and eventually a rice mill on Kīlauea Stream.

The mill is known to have been on the stream terrace east of Kīlauea Stream. Rice and vegetable cultivation was also noted along the banks of Kīlauea Stream, circa 1925.  (Cultural Surveys)

Built in 1913 as a navigational aid for commercial shipping, the Kīlauea Lighthouse was credited with saving lives, not only of countless sailors lost at sea, but of two fliers on a historic trans-Pacific flight.

When Lt Albert Hegenberger and Lt Lester Maitland were on the first trans-Pacific airplane flight in history (June 29, 1927,) they overshot their course to Oʻahu and became lost.

They heard a strange signal and interpreted it as a radio beacon originating in the Islands. They used the signal to calculate their exact position and made the necessary adjustments to put them on course, thus enabling them to land the ‘Bird of Paradise’ safely at Hickam Field on Oʻahu.  (NPS)

Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, surrounding the Lighthouse, was established in 1985 to preserve and enhance seabird nesting colonies and was expanded in 1988 to include Crater Hill and Mōkōlea Point.  The refuge is home to some of the largest populations of nesting seabirds in in the main Hawaiian Islands.

Nearby, Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (HILT) added to an existing preserved property to form the Kāhili Coastal Preserve.  The property provides public access to Kāhili Beach while safeguarding the shoreline ecosystem.  (HILT)

The image shows Kīlauea Falls, Kauaʻi.  In addition, I have added others similar images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Wai O Keanalele

“Wai o ke ola! Wai, waiwai nui! Wai, nā mea a pau, ka wai, waiwai no kēlā!”  (Water is life! Water is of great value! Water, the water is that which is of value for all things!) (Joe Rosa; Maly)

Water was so valuable to Hawaiians that they used the word "wai" to indicate wealth. Thus, to signify abundance and prosperity, Hawaiians would say waiwai.

"Kekaha wai ‘ole na Kona" ("waterless Kekaha of the Kona district") speaks of Kekaha, the portion of North Kona extending north of Kailua Bay from Honokōhau to ʻAnaehoʻomalu.  It is described as "a dry, sun-baked land.")

Kamakau notes during the 1770s, “Kekaha and the lands of that section” were held by descendants of the Nahulu line, Kameʻeiamoku (living at Kaʻūpūlehu) and Kamanawa (at Kīholo,) the twin half-brothers of Keʻeaumoku, the Hawai‘i island chief.

It is the home of Kamanawa, at Kīholo, and its fresh water resources that we look at today.

Situated within the ahupuaʻa of Puʻuwaʻawaʻa, this area has ancient to relatively recent (1801 Hualālai eruption and the 1859 Pu‘u Anahulu eruption.)

Kīholo (lit. the Fishhook) refers to the legend which describes how in 1859 the goddess Pele, hungry for the ‘awa and mullet, or ʻanae, which grew there in the great fishpond constructed by Kamehameha I, sent down a destructive lava flow, grasping at the fish she desired.  (DLNR)

This place name may have been selected as a word descriptive of the coastline along that part of the island where the east-west coast meets the north-south coast and forms a bend similar to the angle between the point and the shank of a large fishhook.

There is no confirmation for this theory, except for our knowledge that Hawaiian place names have a strong tendency to be descriptive.  (Kelly)

While only a handful of houses are here today, in ancient times, there was a village that with many more that called Kiholo home.

“This village exhibits another monument of the genius of Tamehameha (Kamehameha I.) A small bay, perhaps half a mile across, runs inland for a considerable distance. From one side to the other of this bay, Tamehameha built a strong stone wall, six feet high in some places, and twenty feet wide, by which he had an excellent fish-pond that is not less than two miles in circumference.”

“There were several arches in the wall, which were guarded by strong stakes driven into the ground so far apart as to admit the water of the sea; yet sufficiently close to prevent the fish from escaping. It was well stocked with fish, and water-fowl were seen swimming on its surface.” (Ellis, 1823)

Where it was feasible, sometimes in small embayments, and other times directly on the coastal reefs, Hawaiians built walled ponds (loko kuapā) by building a stone wall, either in a large semicircle - from the land out onto the reef and, circling around, back again to the land—or to connect the headlands of a bay, they enclosed portions of the coastal waters, often covering many acres.

These ponds provided sanctuaries for many types of herbivorous fish. One or more sluice gates (mākāhā) built into the wall of a pond allowed clean, nutritious ocean water and very young fish to enter the pond. This was the type of fishpond that was reported to have been built at Kīholo by early visitors to the area.  (Kelly)

While Ellis credits Kamehameha with building Ka Loko o Kīholo (The Pond of Kīholo,) it is more likely that the fishpond was built in the fifteenth to the early part of the seventh centuries and that Kamehameha later repaired and rebuilt it.  (Kelly)

It was in operation well after that.  “Took the road from Kapalaoa to Kailua on foot. Passed the great fish pond at Kīholo, one of the artificial wonders of Hawaiʻi; an immense work! A prodigious wall run through a portion of the ocean, a channel for the water etc. Half of Hawaii worked on it in the days of Kamehameha.”  (Lorenzo Lyons, August, 8, 1843; Maly)

Fishing and fish from the pond provided much of the food for the villagers.  In addition, due to the limited rainfall and no surface streams, they also planted sweet potatoes, at least seasonally (probably just before the winter rains were expected, whatever soil was available was piled in heaps and nourished with leaves and other vegetable matter.)  (Kelly)

Kīholo and other ponds (ie Pā‘aiea (once where the Kona Airport is situated)) would have supplied food for Kamehameha’s warriors when they sailed off in the great canoe fleet to conquer the chiefs on the Islands of Maui, Moloka‘i and O‘ahu in 1794 and 1795. (Kelly)

“The natives of this district (also produced) large quantities of salt, by evaporating sea water. We saw a number of their pans, in the disposition of which they display great ingenuity. They have generally one large pond near the sea, into which the water flows by a channel cut through the rocks, or is carried thither by the natives in large calabashes.”  (Ellis, 1823)

“After remaining there some time, it is conducted into a number of smaller pans about six or eight inches in depth, which are made with great care, and frequently lined with large evergreen leaves, in order to prevent absorption. Along the narrow banks or partitions between the different pans, we saw a number of large evergreen leaves placed.”

“They were tied up at each end, so as to resemble a shallow dish, and filled with sea water, in which the crystals of salt were abundant. ... it has ever been an essential article with the Sandwich Islanders, who eat it very freely with their food, and use large quantities in preserving their fish.”  (Ellis, 1823)

“Salt was one of the necessaries and was a condiment used with fish and meat, also as a relish with fresh food. Salt was manufactured only in certain places. The women brought sea water in calabashes or conducted it in ditches to natural holes, hollows, and shallow ponds (kaheka) on the sea coast, where it soon became strong brine from evaporation. Thence it was transferred to another hollow, or shallow vat, where crystallization into salt was completed.”  (Malo)

The 1850s saw several outbreaks of lava from Mauna Loa: in August 1851; in February 1852 (it came within a few hundred yards of Hilo;) and in August 1855, when it flowed for 16-months.

Then, in 1859, activity shifted to the northwestern side of the mountain. A flow started on January 23rd at an elevation of 10,500 feet; it came down to the sea on the northwest coast in two branches, at a point just north of Kīholo. On January 31st the stream had reached the sea, more than thirty-three miles in a direct line from its source - the first eruption in historic times from a high altitude to accomplish the extraordinary feat.  (Bryan, 1915)

The 1859 flow basically destroyed Kīholo and transformed it from a former residence of chiefs to a sparsely populated fishing village.  In the early 20th century, Kīholo became the port for Puʻuwaʻawaʻa Ranch, some 10 miles inland near Puʻuanahulu. Cattle were shipped from Kīholo to Honolulu until 1958. The construction of Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway in 1975 ended Kīholo’s former isolation.  (Kona Historical Society)

What about the water?

Today, evidence remains of the fresh groundwater flow through subterranean lava tubes and chambers out into the bay.   There is a series of caves in Puʻuwaʻawaʻa that was formed from lava tubes. The ceilings of lava tubes often collapsed in some places and were left intact in others, forming caves with relatively easy access through the collapsed areas.

Such caves were used for shelters by Hawaiians, perhaps during the summer months when they came to gather salt or to fish. The place name Keanalele (the discontinuous cave) is descriptive of caves found just inland of the coast in the ahupua‘a of Pu‘uwa‘awa‘a between Kīholo and Luahinewai (more on this in another post.)

Some of the caves contain fresh or brackish water, particularly those located toward the makai (seaward) end of the cave series. Caves that contained water were precious to the inhabitants of the area, even if the water in them was slightly brackish.  (Kelly)  One of these is identified as Wai O Keanalele, with three feet of almost fresh water..

On January 25, 2002 the Board of Land and Natural Resources transferred responsibility for State-managed lands within the ahupua‘a of Pu‘uwa‘awa‘a and Pu‘u Anahulu from its Land Division to the Divisions of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) and State Parks.

The portion that was made the responsibility of the Division of State Parks was designated the Kīholo State Park Reserve.  The Kīholo State Park Reserve is comprised of 4,362 acres and includes an 8-mile long wild coastline along the Kona Coast of the Island of Hawai‘i (bounded by Queen Kaʻahumanu Highway on the east, the Pu‘uwa‘awa‘a/Kaʻupulehu district boundary on the south, the shoreline on the west and the Pu‘u Anahulu/ʻAnaehoʻomalu ahupua‘a boundary on the north.)

The image shows the Kīholo water cave of Wai O Keanalele (Moore.)  In addition, I have added others similar images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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Saturday, August 23, 2014


Early Polynesians traveling and settling in Hawaiʻi brought with them shoots, roots, cuttings and seeds of various plants for food, cordage, medicine, fabric, containers, all of life's vital needs.

“Canoe crops” (Canoe Plants) is a term to describe the group of plants brought to Hawaiʻi by these early Polynesians.  Domesticated animals, including pigs, dogs and chickens were also introduced.

Kukui was one of these canoe crops.

Hawaiians had many uses for the big seeds, which are borne in large quantities - as many as 75-100 pounds annually - by a large tree. The seed shells, black when mature and white earlier, were made into lei and now into costume jewelry and curios.  (CTAHR)

“The multiplicity of its uses to the ancient Hawaiians for light, fuel, medicine, dye and ornament and to the continued value to the people of modern Hawaiʻi, as well as the distinctive beauty of its light green foliage which embellishes many of the slopes of our beloved mountains, causes the kukui tree to be especially treasured by the people of the Fiftieth State of the United States as an arboreal symbol of Hawaiʻi...”  (Territorial Legislature Resolution, May 1, 1959; Hawaii House of Representatives)

From this property of the kukui comes its kaona, its spiritual import. The tree of light has become a symbol of enlightenment, protection, guidance, and peace, and as such its mana (spiritual power) flows through Hawaiian culture and its ceremonies.

The tree is considered to be the kinolau, or form, of Kamapuaʻa, the pig god, the lover of fire goddess Pele (perhaps due to light’s affinity with fire) and so a pig’s head carved from kukui wood is placed on the altar to Lono at the annual Makahiki festival.

It was used to embellish and fortify canoes. Kukui wood was used for the manu, or bird, the removable figurehead of the canoe.  Burn the seed and a fine black soot (pau) was produced that could dye kapa (bark cloth) or paint designs on the canoe prow.

The inner bark provided a red-brown dye for ‘olona cordage, the outer could provide kapa while the gum from the bark strengthened and helped waterproof the kapa.  (Stein)

In ancient times, kukui was woven into the thatched house to confer its blessings, and for modern houses a bundle of thatch mixed with kukui is used in the ceremony.    (Stein)  The kukui has multiple uses, including light, fuel, medicine, dye and ornament.  (Choy)

But of all the uses of the kukui, none is more appropriate than the property that gives it its name, for “kukui” means “light” or “torch,” and its English name is “the candlenut tree” that is the focus of this summary.

“Oil extracted from the seeds was traditionally used by Hawaiians as a preservative for surfboards.  The oil can also be used as a basis for paint or varnish, burned as an illuminant, made into soap, and used for waterproofing paper.”  (CTAHR)

The raw kernels were used to polish wooden bowls. Oiling inside and outside of the bowls made them waterproof so they could last longer. The oil was also put on the runners of the wooden holua sled to make the sled go faster. (DOE)

“The oily kernels are dried and strung on a skewer such as a coconut leaf midrib (lama kū - torch.)  Each nut in the string burns for about 3-minutes and emits a somewhat fragrant smoke.”  (CTAHR)

These same more rigid midribs (of coconut frond – or bamboo) furnished the rods on which it was the task of children to string kukui nut kernels; these were burned as candles (lama).  (Krauss)

“When (the Hawaiians) use them in their houses, ten or twelve are strung on the thin stalk of the cocoa-nut leaf, and look like a number of pealed chesnuts on a long skewer.  The person who has charge of them lights a nut at one end of the stick, and hold it up, till the oil it contains is consumed, when the flame kindles on the one beneath it, and he breaks off the extinct nut with a short piece of wood, which serves as a pair of snuffers.  Each nut will burn two or three minutes, and, it attended, give a tolerable light.”  (Ellis, 1826)

“Large quantities of kukui, or candle nuts, were hanging up in long strings in different parts of his house. … Sometimes the natives burn them to charcoal, which they pulverize, and use tattooing their skin, painting their canoes, surf-boards, idols or drums; but they are generally used as a substitute for candles or lamps.”

“When employed for fishing by torchlight, four or five strings are enclosed in the leaves of the pandanus, which not only keeps them together, but adds to the light they give.”  (Ellis, 1826)

“As the sky darkened, men prowled the shallow waters of lagoons with torches and spears. ‘Candles’ were made by stringing dried nutmeats of the oily kukui nut on thin skewers of bamboo.”

“The top nut was ignited, and as it burned out it ignited the nut below it. For a fishing torch, clusters of these candles were lighted and carried in a bamboo tube (candlenut torch.)”  (HPA)

Reportedly, on March 17, 1930, Territorial Governor Lawrence McCully Judd issued a proclamation declaring the coconut palm or niu (Cocos nucifera) the official tree of the Territory of Hawai'i.  (Choy)

But on May 1, 1959, the 30th Territorial Legislature passed Joint Resolution No. 3, which designated the kukui the official tree.  (Choy)  State law, HRS §5-8, designated the Kukui as the State tree.

The image shows a kukui torch, based on an original in the collection of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts (Cummings, National Arts program.)   In addition, I have added others similar images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Hālawa Shaft

The Hawaiian Islands are made up of one or more shield volcanoes that are composed primarily of extremely permeable, thin basaltic lava flows (within the flows are a few ash beds.)  Ordinarily, basalts are among the most permeable rocks on earth.

When rain falls on the Islands, it does one of three things: (1) wets the land surface, shallow infiltration saturates the uppermost soil layer and replaces soil moisture used by plants and then is absorbed by the vegetation and/or evaporates (evapotranspiration;) (2) runs off, eroding the land, forming valleys and gouges in the mountain slopes (and also creates some spectacular periodic waterfalls;) or (3) percolates into the ground (slowly sinks into the ground and becomes groundwater.)

The latter contributes to the groundwater recharge of the area (in the Koʻolau, it takes about 9-months for the rain, now groundwater, to seep down through cracks and permeable materials in the mountain.) Other recharge components include cloud drip (moisture condenses on the trees and leaves as clouds/fog drift through) and irrigation of an area helps add to the recharge.

Rainfall percolating through the ground may accumulate in three principal types of groundwater bodies: (1) high-level bodies perched on relatively impervious soil, ash or lava layers; (2) high-level bodies impounded within compartments formed by impermeable dikes that have intruded the lava flows; and (3) basal water bodies floating on and displacing salt water.

The principal source of fresh ground water in the Hawaiian Islands is the roughly lens-shaped basal water body floating on and displacing denser sea water.  (It varies by area, sometimes there is high-level confined water.)  Recharge of the basal water body results directly from percolating rain water or by underground leakage from perched-water bodies and bodies impounded by dikes.

The Ghyben-Herzberg principle applies to this basal water that suggests the top of fresh water above sea level should be balanced by a thickness of fresh water below sea level about 40 times as great.  That generally means, for every foot of fresh water above sea level, there is 40-feet of fresh water below it.)

Water resources were becoming a challenge in the growing Honolulu community. “From the outset it was the Board’s major problem to supply the City of Honolulu with water from sources within its own boundaries as long as that remained possible.”

“The Board's long range plan, however, contemplated the eventual necessity of going outside the boundaries of the District of Honolulu for additional artesian water but it had been thought that the time when this would have to be done was far in the future. However, when the emergency arose it was possible to advance this phase of the program by deferring the infiltration projects.”

“Bond moneys that would have been applied to infiltration were transferred to a new project through which additional artesian water will be brought into the city from a 284-foot inclined shaft and electrically-operated underground pumping station in North Hālawa Valley.”

“War has delayed the completion of the North Hālawa project and has greatly increased its cost. Army and Navy authorities have given us splendid cooperation on this project, and, although we cannot be certain how soon all the materials and equipment required for completion of the installation will reach us, progress on its construction has been satisfactory, and it should be completed within the year 1943.”  (Report of the Board of Water Supply, Ohrt’s Report, January 28, 1943)

North Hālawa Valley overlies the Pearl Harbor aquifer, an important source of potable water for the island of Oʻahu. Freshwater in the Pearl Harbor aquifer is part of a large, lens-shaped body of ground water that is thickest in the central part of Oahu and thins toward the coastline.

This lens of freshwater, known as the ‘basal lens,’ floats on saltwater that penetrates from the ocean into the basalt flows of which the island is composed.  (Izuka, USGS)

In some early installations, vertical wells were drilled in the tunnels to develop additional water.  Hālawa was different; it is referred to as a skimming tunnel.  It’s commonly called the Hālawa Shaft.

Skimming tunnels consist essentially of a vertical or inclined shaft constructed from the ground surface down to about the water table and one or more horizontal, or nearly horizontal, tunnels constructed laterally at, or just below, the water level to collect water.  (Peterson)

The fundamental advantage of the skimming tunnels over conventional wells is their capability to produce large quantities of fresh water from lenses so thin that drilled wells would recover only brackish water.

For this reason, skimming tunnels are especially useful in some of the dry leeward coastal areas of Hawaiʻi, as well as on many small oceanic islands with extremely thin fresh-water lenses.

Owing primarily to economic considerations and also to the greater flexibility of modern deep-well pumping stations, no new major skimming tunnels have been constructed in Hawaiʻi since the early 1950s. (Peterson)

The Hālawa Shaft facility is at an elevation of 165 feet above sea level; it’s one of five main shafts operated by the Honolulu Board of Water Supply. (The other main shafts include Wai’alae, Kalihi, Makaha and Pearl City.)

Approximately 15-million gallons of pure water is pumped every day from the Hālawa shaft by three pumping units which have a capacity of 18 to 20-million gallons per day.

The water pool is a ‘hole’ at the top of a 919-foot long water development tunnel below. The Hālawa Shaft was put in operation on August 22, 1944.  (Papacostas)

The completion of the Hālawa Shaft made possible the importation of water from the Pearl Harbor area to Honolulu permitting a reduction in draft from the Honolulu aquifer.

This change in draft has raised the water levels in Honolulu to the extent that this aquifer now appears to be functioning well within the limits of its safe yield. (Ground Water Development, 1958)

While I was at DLNR, I had the opportunity to have a private tour of the Hālawa Shaft.  The lack of a key to unlock a gate on the stairs leading down the shaft caused quite an embarrassment to the Water staff.

Rather than turn back, we climbed over the gate and were able to view the shaft and water pool.  (Check the photos in the album.)

The image shows a simple water level gauge at the water pool at the Hālawa Shaft.  In addition, I have included other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014


Dr Theodore Richards’ first position in Hawaiʻi was teacher of the first class to graduate from the Kamehameha Schools and also as an instructor of music and athletic coach.

He served as principal of the Kamehameha Schools for five years (replacing William Oleson, Kamehameha’s 1st principal.) Richards married Mary C Atherton in Honolulu, June 29, 1892. They had four children, Ruth (Mrs Frank E Midkiff,) Joseph Atherton, Herbert M and Mary Theodora Richards.

In 1927, Richards envisioned a community center and camp ground where people of all races could come together as "one blood" or "kokokahi".

Initially, the Richards’ camp started on Moku O Loʻe (Coconut Island.)  Chris Holmes, Fleishman Yeast heir, offered to buy the Bishop Estate lease from the camp and to take over the island as a private residence.

With the money from selling the lease, Richards established a multi-racial community by setting out houselots for weekend cabins across the Bay; it had mountains for hiking and the bay for swimming and the land between for the camp itself.  (Taylor)

He established a garden there (now the independent Friendship Garden;) later, the Dudley Talbott Trail was added (about half-mile loop through lower Kokokahi Valley mauka of Kāneʻohe Bay Drive. )

Camp Halekipa was established and later merged with Theodore Richards’ combined conference, camp and vacation home area for all Christians, and called Kokokahi as part of the YWCA.

In a time when it was the custom for communities to be segregated by race, Kokokahi was an unprecedented effort to breakdown racial barriers.  The YWCA national commitment to eliminating racism is in close harmony with Dr Richard's.

The new camp offered conferences and camp outings for such diverse organizations as church groups, the University of Hawaiʻi sororities, the Salvation Army and Home Demonstration Clubs.

In 1936, the Juliette Atherton Trust built Atherton Hall on the YWCA property.  It overlooks Kāneʻohe Bay, with floor to ceiling glass doors and a lanai that wraps around the building.

Today, Atherton Hall is used for group retreats or meetings, as well as a site for weddings; it has a full catering kitchen.   Hale Nanea Lodge and nearby island-style cottages provide sleeping quarters for overflow.

Hale Nanea Lodge is a modern style lodge that can accommodate up to 60-guests in five dorm style rooms (with 12-camp-style single bunk beds per room.)  Hale Nanea is equipped with its own kitchen, meeting space and men’s and women’s restrooms.

Originally built in 1933, nearby cottages have camp-style single beds and bunk beds and share a common area restroom with showers.  The cottages have electricity and an outdoor picnic area with barbeque grills and sink.

During WWII, Kokokahi was used as a rest camp by the military.  In 1968, renovations were begun to include a physical education building for indoor classes, an arts and crafts facility, a large multipurpose building and a marina.

Fully renovated in 2001, Midkiff Gymnasium is a modern multi-purpose gym.  The unique sliding doors create an open air area, allowing ocean and mountain views.  The gym has a sports floor covering and a college regulation size basketball court.

Today, Kokokahi offers YWCA members a place to participate in cultural, educational and recreational activities together. The camp recently completed another renovation, getting a much-needed face-lift.

Located on Kāne’ohe Bay, member families have access to over 11-acres of waterfront property which includes a full-size gymnasium, a functional kitchen and dining area, a pool with locker rooms, overnight cabins and multiple classrooms and meeting spaces.  (Information here is from YWCA, Kokokahi.)

The image shows Kokokahi and the Atherton Home (Hall.)  In addition, I have added other related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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